By Mindy Seymour | Colorado Watchdog
DENVER — Mitt Romney will win the presidential race in November, according to an updated forecasting model that has accurately predicted the leader of the free world in the past eight elections.
Despite polls that showed President Barack Obama with a slight edge over Romney going into last week’s debate, Romney will emerge the victor because of voters who are unhappy with economic conditions, according to political science professors Kenneth Bickers of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Michael Berry of the
University of Colorado at Denver.
“When we plug in the numbers, we estimate the winner every time,” Berry said.
Their initial study was done in May and was recently updated with data from August. Back in May the professors determined that Romney would win the election, and now the numbers are even more in his favor.
The most noticeable change they saw in their model between May and August was that New Mexico now appears to be a win for Romney when it was formerly going for Obama. And in Colorado, which narrowly squeaked by for Obama in 2008, voters will pick Romney at 53.3 percent. The earlier study showed his win at 51.9 percent.
A news release from the University of Colorado explained the results: “According to their updated analysis, Romney is projected to receive 330 of the total 538 Electoral College votes. Obama is expected to receive 208 votes — down five votes from their initial prediction — and short of the 270 needed to win.”
What makes this forecasting model different from others is that Bickers and Berry focus on the Electoral College and not the popular vote, and it includes more than one state-level measure of economic conditions. Their economic data comes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Then they factor in state and national unemployment figures and changes in real per capita income.
Berry points out that Democrats and Republicans are affected differently by things like the latest unemployment figures, which
were released last week and showed a decrease in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent.
“It depends on the nature of those figures,” he explained. “Generally that’s an advantage to the incumbent party.”
The numbers could be reflecting more people out of work, leaving the work force or getting low-paying part-time jobs and therefore affecting personal income.
However, the latest polls concur with the Berry and Bickers forecasting model, showing that Romney got a significant bounce in the polls since the first debate on Oct. 3.
According to the Huffington Post, the Gallup organization did three days of calling nationwide immediately after the debate and found that Obama and Romney were tied at 47 percent nationwide.
“Gallup showed Obama leading Romney by 5 percentage points — 50 percent to 45 percent — in interviews conducted in the three days prior to the debate,” the story said. In short, the data shows a trend of a slight shift of voter preference for Romney.
Even with the science, there is wiggle room in the next few weeks since the Berry and Bickers forecasting model sticks to the facts of economic measures.
“Regarding the debate performances, any campaign gaffes, the model does not account for those,” Berry said.
Contact Mindy Seymour at [email protected]